In the late 1960s a rare appearance of a Jaguar in the north east coastal town where I lived caused eyes to pop and heads to swivel.
My uncle motored up once a year in a Mark 2 model from an exotic, faraway place called London and became an instant celebrity.
Kids would crowd around to admire the gleaming spokes and graceful curves, the wooden dashboard and incredibly racy steering-wheel. I can still vividly remember the smell of the leather upholstery which lingered like cigar smoke.
So, many years later, I returned to the old town behind the wheel of an XF, Jaguar’s award-winning, super sexy sports saloon. And do you know what, the reaction was remarkably similar. Several people engaged me in conversation about the car while a child with scuffed knees and a grimy neck asked: “Is that your car mister?”.
Of course there was a notable exception; some swamp-dweller obviously took exception to this and scratched the paintwork in some sort of act of class war against privilege no doubt.
I remember when the XF was first mooted and Jeremy Clarkson said he would saw his leg off beat himself over the head with it if the development model saw the light of day.
He didn’t end up hopping around as the design was modified for public consumption. It still ended up with striking look while providing a direct link to the ultra chic Mark 2 of yesteryear.
In addition it has brought back some exclusivity to the Jaguar brand which was somewhat diluted by the frequently seen X-type models.
The exterior is sleek and eye-catching but the interior is equally impressive. Settling into the cabin, the hand-stitched leather seats, sophisticated instrumentation and blue mood lighting create a sense of tranquil luxury.
The gear control knob rises out of the centre console on firing up while the air conditioning vents rotate into the open position giving a real futuristic feel.
Comfort and luxury abound with other clever tricks like touch screen controls and voice activation. On the road there is no disguising the power from the supercharged V8 engine, drawing 560 units of torque and delivering a brisk 0-60 in 5.4 seconds with a top speed of 155mph.
It is not only quick, it has all the agility of a Big Cat and the enhanced suspension and damper control give a smoother ride on corners even at high speeds.
Transmission is a quick-shifting electronic system that can also be accessed via the steering wheel paddles as can the audio system with eight speakers.
Aslso included are the usual access to modcons like Bluetooth and MP3 players.
The XF is a leading class sports saloon with world-class credentials.
Jaguar XF 4.2 SV8
Combined mpg 22.4
Speed 155 mph